Subscribe: Africa Unchained
Preview: Africa Unchained

Emergent Africa

Inspired by George Ayittey's book 'Africa Unchained'.

Updated: 2017-01-23T06:00:18.284-05:00


Ngugi Wa Thiong'o: English is not an African language


HARDtalk speaks to Kenyan author, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. He tells Gavin Esler that language plays an important role in hierarchies and systems of oppression.

He says that African authors should be clear about the fact that when they write in English they are contributing to the expansion of, and dependence on, the English language. He argues that translation plays an important role in allowing cultures to communicate but thinks it is "crazy" that a prize for African literature only considers books written in English...[more]

How to topple a dictator - Srđa Popović


Watch Srdja Popovic at TEDxKrakow in conjunction with reading 'Defeating Dictators':
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Life-long learning will be crucial in the #AI era


Vishal Sikka writing in the FT:
Changing education essential to achieve the best from the new industrial revolution
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Promoting peace by waging war: African interventionism


Obi Anyadike writes:
Africa, the world’s poorest continent, faces many security challenges. But its leaders are not slow to intervene in crises when they can, as Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia is now discovering.
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Scientists win grants to create Research & Development Networks Across Africa


A 2016 Scidev report on R&D Network Builders:
Five African scientists who completed their doctorates through the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) scholarships have each won US$25,000 to create, expand and improve university-based research groups.

The winners of the RISE Competitive Fund were announced during a meeting in Kenya   to celebrate the accomplishments of RISE and mark its transition to a new phase as a fully Africa-owned initiative.

The five scientists and their nationalities are Adenike Olaseinde, Nigeria; Benjamin Kumwenda, Malawi; Jane Tanner, South Africa; Majuto Manyilizu, Tanzania and Jane Namukobe, Uganda
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Watch the viscerally beautiful 'Requiem' - A video


Directed by Hugo Bembi:
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Requiem from Hugo Bembi on Vimeo.

Solving the Crisis of Extractive Capitalism


Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis writing Evonomics:
Our world is once again hurled into a deep socio-economic crisis, in which the current extractive model of value creation is facing a series of structural crises. But as the old world is dislocating, the seeds of a new one are being sown.

The peer-to-peer capacity to relate to each other over the Internet entails the emergence of what Yochai Benkler in The Wealth of Networks called ‘commons-based peer production’ (CBPP). CBPP is a new pathway of value creation and distribution, where peer-to-peer infrastructures allow individuals to communicate, self-organize and, ultimately, co-create non-rivalrous use value, in the form of digital commons of knowledge, software and design. Think of the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, the myriad of free/open-source projects or open design communities such as Wikihouse and Farmhack...[more]

#Africa take note...5 ways the Maker Movement can help catalyze a manufacturing renaissance


Mark Muro and Peter Hirshberg write:
...there is another way to think about touching off an industrial revival in America (Or in Africa) that brings back economic growth, opportunity, and decent jobs for blue-collar workers.

That approach would embrace the Maker Movement as a deeply American source of decentralized creativity for rebuilding America’s thinning manufacturing ecosystems.
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L'Appel à la Danse au Sénégal (A Call to Dance in Senegal) - video


From Screen Skin
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ASA - L'Appel à la Danse au Sénégal from Screen Skin on Vimeo.

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L'Appel à la Danse - Sénégal (teaser) from Screen Skin on Vimeo.

African literary festivals you can attend in 2017


A post from James Murua

A View of Intra-Africa Research Collaboration by the IFS


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Collaborative scientific research in Africa. A film by the International Foundation for Science and the African Academy of Sciences with the support of the Carnegie Corporation

The Recent Growth Boom in Developing Economies: A Structural-Change Perspective | Dani Rodrik


A paper by Rodrik D, Diao X, McMillan M. :

Growth has accelerated in a wide range of developing countries over the last couple of decades, resulting in an extraordinary period of convergence with the advanced economies. We analyze this experience from the lens of structural change – the reallocation of labor from low- to high-productivity sectors. Patterns of structural change differ greatly in the recent growth experience. In contrast to the East Asian experience, none of the recent growth accelerations in Latin America, Africa, or South Asia was driven by rapid industrialization. Beyond that, we document that recent growth accelerations were based on either rapid within-sector labor productivity growth (Latin America) or growth-increasing structural change (Africa), but rarely both at the same time. The African experience is particularly intriguing, as growth-enhancing structural change appears to have come typically at the expense of declining labor productivity growth in the more modern sectors of the economy. We explain this anomaly by arguing that the forces that promoted structural change in Africa originated on the demand side, through either external transfers or increase in agricultural incomes. In contrast to Asia, structural change was the result of increased demand for goods and services produced in the modern sectors of the economy rather than productivity improvements in these sectors.

Somalis's "African solution" to its Evolving Democracy


Matina Stevis reporting for the WSJ writes:
..Somalia— Abdiweli Ibrahim Ali Sheikh Mudey reclined in his plastic chair inside this war-torn city’s fortified perimeter and cracked a smile behind his Ray Bans. He had just been elected, unopposed and unanimously, to Somalia’s new Parliament.

“I will do my best,” the former regional minister said, as ululating supporters whisked him away. He had secured the votes of a handful of delegates—in turn handpicked by clan elders—who cast ballots in front of a coterie of United Nations officials and journalists.
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George Ayittey applauds these efforts to include indigenous aspects in their developing democratic process, he states:
“Somalia’s Crooked Route to Democracy,” (Jan 17, 2017) missed an important ingredient in the Somali struggle. When Thomas Jefferson made this statement in a letter to Edward Carrington in 1787 that people who live without government enjoy infinitely greater degree of freedom and happiness, he was probably referring to stateless societies, such as the Igbo or the Somali in Africa. The Somali, for example, took the concept of liberty to its most radical limit. They are fiercely Republican in their traditional society. Born free, they take orders from no one, except their clan elders. They see the state as necessarily evil and have no centralized authority – no kings, no chiefs or political leaders. They detest government, which they deride as “waxan” (the thing). Correspondingly, the Igbo have this expression ezebuillo (the King is an enemy). Hence, the term “stateless.”

When the colonialists imposed a waxan on the Somali, they fought it to gain their independence in 1960. The incoming African liberators tried to impose a socialist waxan on them; they fought it and chased General Siad Barre out of the country in 1991. The Islamists tried in 2005; they were defeated. The chaos in Somalia is not due so much to their inability to establish democracy but rather to misguided attempts to impose a waxan on them. After more than 14 such unsuccessful attempts, they should be applauded for going back to their roots to extract workable principles, not denigrated as taking a “crooked route to democracy,” which, by the way, may be incompatible with the setup of their society referred to as kritarchy (rule by judges).

George BN Ayittey,, PhD President, Free Africa Foundation, Washington DC

In #Africa, Inspiring Innovation with SciFi


Jonathan Dotse founder of AfroCyberPunk writes in SciDev:
Science fiction helped accelerate Western development. It could do the same in Africa, says Jonathan Dotse.

The Industrial Revolution sparked the first wave of modern science fiction narratives, which used the power of creative storytelling to explore the implications of unfolding technological developments. Science and speculation drove those stories and narratives, allowing people to truly begin to envisage the radical possibilities that lay in the near and distant future...[more]

In #Nigeria "lawyers and judges are promoters of criminality" - Charly Boy


He should run for president:
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Playboy cars and pentecostal stars


Noo Saro-Wiwa in the Times Literary Supplement:
For any country and any culture, there is always a distinction between the highbrow and lowbrow, official and unofficial. Nowhere is this division more apparent than in Nigeria where the wealth gap, religious diversity and large diaspora mean that some of the nation’s various sub-cultures enjoy huge popularity at home but relatively little internationally, and vice versa...[more]

Non-State African Networks Social Capital or Social Liability?


From the Woodrow Wilson Center:
“How, in the absence of effective state sovereignty and national government and in the presence of numerous armed contenders for power, have traders managed to build and protect…economic enterprises in eastern Congo?”Patience Kabamba (author of the Business of Civil War)

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University - Industry Linkage in #Nigeria


A necessary ingredient for sustainable innovation University - Industry Linkage in Nigeria by Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka and Boladale Adebowale:

Why Innovators Should Study the Rise and Fall of the Venetian Empire


Piero Formica writing for HBR:
Most organizations would be happy to last for centuries, as the Venetian Republic did. From 697 to 1797 AD, Venice’s technological acumen, geographic position, and unconventionality were interlocking advantages that allowed the Most Serene Republic to flourish. But when change comes suddenly, it can turn strengths into weaknesses and sweep away even thousand-year success stories...[more]

Who Is Telling Africa’s Stories?


Whitney Richardson writing in the NYTimes:
Akintunde Akinleye was at home one December morning in 2006 when a friend called him with urgent news. Hours earlier, a petroleum pipeline had exploded in a town outside Lagos, Nigeria, his home city, leaving more than 200 people dead. Hopping on his motorbike with his camera, Mr. Akinleye, a Reuters staff photographer based in Nigeria, swerved through miles of thick traffic and arrived on site in less than 30 minutes.
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Pacing through flaming rubble, he spotted an older adult man carrying a bright blue bucket of water. Mr. Akinleye lifted his camera and took several shots of him rinsing his face as dark smoke stained the sky. His final frame was circulated to news media globally, and even made the front page of The New York Times. It also earned him a World Press Photo award for spot news single in 2007, making him the first Nigerian to receive the prestigious award...[more]

A Conversation with Fred Swaniker & Patrick Awuah


The founders of ALU and Ashesi University discuss potential collaborations among other things:
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Invent the Future by Nurturing Inventors Today


From Edutopia:
Ways to Inspire Student Inventors

A collection of ideas to consider as you work to fuel your students’ curiosity.
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"The images of Igbo before"


Over at that igbo girl an interview with the founder of Ukpuru, Chiadikobi:
What is the meaning behind the name ‘Ukpuru’?

Ukpuru (ụ́kpụ́rụ́ or ụ́kpụ́lụ́) in Igbo means ‘footprints’. It’s probably obvious why I chose this name, but I chose it quite quickly and I’m actually happy that I chose that word. I consciously made a decision to choose a word that was Igbo but also generally more ambiguous so I wouldn’t have to be tied down, for example if I called it ‘Igbo history blog’ I’d have this responsibility and I’d have to be really serious, the blog is really a personal one where I post generally anything related to eastern Nigeria or Africa, especially on Tumblr.
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